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Mount Union Graduates Become Successful Teachers in North Carolina

July 19, 2007

Mount Union's Linda Burkey, professor of education and chair of the Department of Education, Paula Caldwell, associate professor of education and Amy Tomko, vice president for enrollment services recently traveled to Gaston, North Carolina to visit Mount Union graduates of the education program who have been hired as teachers in that area.

Eleven of these students were recruited for the 2006-2007 school year and three more will be employed for the 2007-2008 school year.

'Gaston County can't seem to get enough of our Mount Union teachers and that is an awesome feeling!' said Caldwell.

David Kessell, the teacher recruiter for the Gaston County School System, was on campus during the spring semester to visit teacher candidates and talk with them about the possibility of placement in North Carolina. He made this trip after several 2006 Mount Union graduates were noticeably succeeding in Gaston County.

'When we realized that there were about a dozen of our graduates there, we decided to make the trip,' said Caldwell. 'It was so much fun for me to see them in action!'
The trio was escorted to each school by Kessell and was able to see the graduates in their classrooms and meet their students as well as their principal.

Kessell noted that the Mount Union graduates have made an instant impact on the students in the county. 'I have, over the last year, become a real advocate for Mount Union, as your students have made great teachers here in our district.'

Solidifying the positive impact Mount Union graduates have already made on the district were the nominations of two alumni for the Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year Award. Melanie Drotleff '06 received the award for which 488 other teachers in the county were eligible.

To help define the new teachers' success, Kessell made a connection to their education. Kessell commented on the leadership role of the College and the continuum of the Mount Union Experience, even after graduation.

'As a parent, I visited a number of colleges and universities helping to choose a school that was right for my children and almost all of them 'talk' about the level of attention that their students receive. I can tell you that the Mount Union experience reaches far beyond the campus and well after graduation,' said Kessell.

'Mount Union's Teacher Education Program is, without a doubt, the reason I am where I am today,' said Melissa Chapple '06, one of the Mount Union graduates teaching in Gaston. 'The professors were always knowledgeable and open to new ideas. They provided me with the right tools to becoming a teacher. Without them the first year of teaching would have been a disaster! They told me what to expect and how to prepare.'

For Chapple, being a teacher has been the most rewarding experience of her life. She said that 'I love being a teacher and watching my students progress. I wouldn't trade it for the world.'

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